My Battle of the Bands Marketing Win

Sometimes the ugly marketing wins can still help you win the day.

When I was in my teens, I performed in a Bogart’s Battle of the Bands competition in the Greater Cincinnati area where I grew up.  It was a lot of fun because for a 19 year old guy who didn’t know what he didn’t know yet about working in the music industry, it was exposure, and a rush to perform in front of close to 1,000 people, even if they were there to support our competitors.

My band made it to the 3rd and final round.  We finished in the top 10 out of a couple hundred bands.  Now, that felt impressive, and to our family and friends, we were small time heroes.  However, here’s the fun fact.  The way these competitions work is that everyone in the audience gets 3 votes for their top band and two runners up.

Well, I can tell you we were not the caliber of band that deserved to be in the top 10.  But that was the advantage we had.  A lot of people there seemed to agree we were not worthy and so what did they do?  They voted for us 2nd or 3rd choice because they figured it would help their favorite band have a better shot at winning to vote for one of the weaker bands.

We wouldn’t have planned that strategy, it was just the luck of being hated enough by so many that we could win.

It was an ugly win, but it was still a win because we had the opportunity perform 3 times in front of 1,000 people which was far greater an opportunity than to have lost our first night.

Marketing is a lot like that ugly win.  You create a campaign, and it doesn’t drive the results you wanted.  Or, you build a new website and the leads don’t just pour in.  That’s not what you want to see or hear, but it’s not as bad as it may feel.

Every time you reach out to your customers and prospects is like performing on stage.  Do you like this song?  How does this next one grab you?  They’re not all hits, but they are helping you learn to get better at speaking to your audience.

As a musician, I had the privilege to continue in my career.  I worked with international recording artists in the studio and had my own song on college radio stations from coast to coast.

If I had let an ugly win of “your band sucks the best” stop me from creating more and more songs, I would have never achieved those opportunities.  When your marketing doesn’t work like you want, don’t scrap it, don’t presume your marketer doesn’t know what they’re doing.  Learn from it, and let your marketing team keep at it so they can achieve the success you desire.